of Heagy Farming
"In 1992, we purchased a farm, my wife and I (Sam & Jean Heagy) and with our five sons we moved from Lebanon Co. to Crawford Co. In 2001, we were blessed with a sixth son. In 2002, I planted 800 peach trees with the help of my sons hoping a son would become interested in the fruit business. The trees started well and looked great. However, by the end of the second year fifty to seventy five trees had died. So I replanted all those trees in the spring of the third year. Inspite of all my hard work, by the end of the forth year summer many trees were dead or partly dead. So I called Adams County Nursery, the place where I purchased the trees. As I told them what was happening to my trees, they told me to test my soil for nematodes. So I did and the test came back very high in nematodes. Nematodes are very common in soil. They are a microscopic worm type of parasite. They feed on the hair roots off plants. They feed on broad leaf plants, which often have a decrease in them called tomato virus. The nematode transports the tomato virus from the broad leaf into the peach tree roots. Once the peach tree has the tomato virus in it, it will die in a few years. Now I knew what was killing my peach trees.
In the Spring of the fifth year when the trees got their leaves, many of the trees were dead or partly dead so I pushed them all out. Truly a very painful day, I would only pick and sell peaches one time from those trees.
In the next two years I would kill the nematodes in my field by natural means, planning to try again. I ordered another 800 peach trees in the fall of 2007 to plant in the spring of 2008 with a down payment down.
However, on March 20, 2008, I was in a bad accident and should have died, but by the grace of God I lived. I spent 37 days total in a hospital and months of recovery. At that time I had no sons interested in fruit farming. When I should have been planting trees I was laying in a hospital bed not knowing how my healing would all work out. So I called the nursery and told them what had happened to me. Also, told them that I was canceling my tree order, and if they would choose to send any of my prepay back I would appreciate it. They would decide to send back all my prepay which we would use on hospital bills. At that point my dreams for an orchard died.
But many times what we think is dead, in the hands of God, still has life. In the summer of 2010 my son Preston was working in the oil field in the Pittsburgh area. He called me one hot day and said I am tired of working in the oil field, I want to come home and help you on the dairy farm. But there is one catch, I will help you on the dairy farm, but I want you to help me start an Orchard, I said to Preston okay, I will do that.
In the spring of 2011 we planted 800 peach trees and apples and pear trees. In the fall of 2013, Preston married Mindy who now a part of our team."
- Written by Sam Heagy